I have a confession.  When I was a young mother, I didn’t have the patience to have my children help me in the kitchen.  I liked to get things done quickly, neatly, and with the expected outcome.  I didn’t know I was making a mistake by not letting them help, thus learn about cooking and responsibility.  The good part, they are both over 40 now and the main cooks in their households.  I’m proud of them for learning despite my actions.

Children like to feel like they are contributing.  I found with my grandson that if I asked for his help, instead of giving instructions and making demands, we had a good time.  At age one he was allowed to get all the pans out; he would  crash bang the lids, spread an obstacle course around the kitchen, then put them all in a circle with himself in the center.  It kept him occupied for a long time. He then graduated to wanting to help wash the dishes, then to cracking eggs for me while baking.  (One ended up on the floor and not in the bowl.  My daughter looked at me, shook her head and left the room.  I didn’t yell at him, just cleaned it up.  The rules change when you get older and it’s a grandchild.  I’m pretty sure she didn’t think it was fair.)

I remember some friends of ours who have three boys; they had to make the peanut butter and jelly sandwich different for each one.  How?  One wanted the jelly on the bottom, another had to have the jelly on top, and the third wanted his “fo-ded” (folded) not cut!  Mom was smart enough to make them all the same, and just place them on the plate the correct way.  One day Dad was on duty and he had to call Mom to find out the rules.  We are still laughing about it.

Let your kids take over the kitchen to celebrate this day.  If they are little, let them play with the bowls and spoons; if a little bigger, share the cooking but let them do the planning; the meal doesn’t have to fancy, a bologna sandwich will do; you get the idea; the only rule, they are not allowed to call for take-out.  Help them learn that serving (giving) is a wonderful trait that will take them farther in this world than any other.